Flood Damage at Narrows River Park & 
Botna Bend Park 


Flooding along the Missouri River caused the complete inundation of Narrows River Park with flood waters overtaking the Overlook Shelter, parking areas & even the restrooms & park storage. With river levels predicted to remain high in the coming weeks due to melting snowpack from the north, the park will not be opening until early May to allow time for river levels to lower and for our staff to make the needed repairs to ensure visitor safety. We will be organizing a volunteer work day to help with park cleanup in April. Watch our Facebook page for an announcement coming soon. 



Flooding along the West Nishnabotna River took its toll on Botna Bend Park in Hancock. Park staff acted quickly prior to flooding in the park & moved our resident bison and elk herds to higher ground within their pens for their safety. However, the fast moving floodwaters knocked down sections of the fences containing the herds allowing the animals to leave park boundaries. Staff moved in quickly to locate the animals and while they are all accounted for we are still working on relocating them all back to the park. Unfortunately, two bison are known to be deceased. All penned animals are safe and healthy, and are currently being held in temporary pens until permanent fencing in the park can be repaired. Damage to park structures and roadways was also sustained & staff have begun recovery efforts. The park will remain closed until repairs can be completed & we will announce a re-opening date very soon. To volunteer to assist with park repairs please  contact Ranger Jon Fenner at 712-741-0471 or at jon.fenner@pottcounty-ia.gov.



Become a Nature MVP During Our Earth Day Championship


Join us at Hitchcock Nature Center on Saturday, April 20th at 9:00 a.m. for a unique volunteer project.  This fun, all ages event combines learning, volunteering, & competition all in one terrific package.

Participants will enjoy a brief overview of some of the not so obvious ways human beings impact the natural world around us & learn some valuable skills to help reduce our footprint. From reducing noise pollution to limiting the spread of invasive species we have a wealth of information to share with you.

Following this short introduction our participants will divide into teams and hit the trails for a morning of volunteer work as we become the Hitchcock Nature Center Litter Patrol! Teams will spread out along the trails to search out & remove litter. Returning teams will have their litter collection weighed & that weight divided by the number of team members. The three teams with the most litter per team member will win some amazing prizes.

There is no fee to attend this program & participants do not need to pay the per vehicle entry fee or have a membership to participate. We appreciate your time as volunteers & thank you for your service to the park! This event is also open to participants of all ages but it should be noted that it will involve some pedestrian travel over uneven surfaces and trails here at the park. Strollers are not recommended.

We do ask that participants pre-register to help us plan & prepare materials. Participants may register as a team but if you are an individual looking for a morning of fun, register solo and join a team when you arrive. This event is the perfect way to give back to the park & make some new friends in the process.


Any questions? Please call 712-545-3283. We can't wait to see you April 20th!
A Pottawattamie County Almanac: A Mighty Bur Oak - April 13th at Hitchcock Nature Center
Join us on April 13th from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at Hitchcock Nature Center as we examine not only the biology of the Iowa state tree, the Bur Oak, but also its beauty and artistry as well as its importance in literature. We will also be heading outdoors for a wildflower hunt & some nature journaling as well as a discussion of "Bur Oak" by Aldo Leopold. 

Register for the April session online for just $15.00 per person or register for all 9 remaining sessions at a discounted rate of $75.00.

April is Volunteer Appreciation Month!
Pottawattamie County Conservation is an organization with many moving parts serving thousands of guests each year. The important work we do at your county parks would not happen without the tireless dedication of our volunteers. These folks donate their time & their energy to support our staff & assist our guests in a myriad of ways, from office help to park maintenance they do it all. We would like to take a moment to recognize the volunteers who logged hours of service in 2018. We couldn't do it without you.

Cheryl Bain
Tim Bain
Elliott Bedows
Lance Brisbois
Jade Chambers
Ann Cole
Pat Dingman
Robert Fuchs
Pam Glassmeyer
Suzanne Gucciardo
Scott Guttau
Joni Hendricks
Jim Hendricks
Heidi Hermanson
Jenny Janes
Sarah Johnson
Clem Klaphake
Deborah Kraft
Diane McKee
Tess Moss
Wes Moss
Ronda Nelson
Westy Nelson


Connie Osler
Babs Padleford
Loren Padleford
Tim Pagett
Don Paseka
Janis Paseka
Pat Prine
Luanne Pribyl
Kathleen Pyper
Sandy Reinken
Leigh Rosengren
Janice Salz
Dorothy Shamblen
Billie Shelton
Patricia Slatin
Dorie Stone
Heidi Swanson
Jerry Toll
Jeanne Trachta
Bob Wells
Brian Wetzle
Linda Wetzle
Ralph Wright
Aiden Young

We are always looking for volunteers at each of our parks. Download & submit your application to join this amazing team of park supporters today. 


Hitchcock Oak Inventory Project Training

The sprawling mighty oak tree remains a symbol of the American Midwest but a new, swift, and little understood disease has recently emerged in our area with the potential to eliminate these iconic trees from our landscape. Join us at Hitchcock Nature Center to be a part of a new volunteer project aimed at understanding and alleviating the effects of this new threat.

We will be hosting a series of three training sessions aimed at training those interested in joining this unique volunteer program. Each training will be held at Hitchcock Nature Center from 12:00 to 4:00 p.m. on the following dates. 

Training Session 1 - Saturday, April 6th
Training Session 2 - Saturday, June 22nd
Training Session 3 - Saturday, September 21st

Training sessions will cover a variety of topics & include field training sessions to help volunteers practice their skills & become independent project volunteers. Topics covered will include the project & field data collection app, oak ecology, & oak fire wounds. Pre-registration is requested for these free events as space is limited.

Join the Loess Hills Nordic Ski Patrol

The Loess Hills Nordic Ski Patrol (LHNSP) is looking for volunteers who want to serve, gain skills, and find camaraderie with a fun, energetic crowd of outdoor enthusiasts. 

LHNSP is part of the Rocky Mountain Division of the National Ski Patrol and supports Hitchcock Nature Center and its mission providing courtesy patrols, first aid services, emergency evacuation, and event support year-round.  Most of these services are provided in the spring and fall and during select special events.

To be a member of the patrol, you do not need to be a cross-country skier as training will be provided along with training opportunities for emergency medicine, outdoor survival skills, search and rescue, and others.

There are various levels of membership, but every volunteer member must complete Outdoor Emergency Care (OEC) class and maintain a current Basic Life Support or CPR for the Professional Rescuer certification.

For more information on how to join the Loess Hills Nordic Ski Patrol, email Loesshillsnsp@gmail.com. Be sure to check them out on Facebook.
Upcoming Programs

Bird Banding Demonstration
9:00 to 11:00 a.m.
Saturday, April 6
Hitchcock Nature Center, Honey Creek
Come get a "bird's eye" view of our fine-feathered friends as you join volunteers for a live songbird banding at Hitchcock Nature Center. Read More ...

Hitchcock Oak Inventory Project: Training Session 1
12:00 to 4:00 p.m.
Saturday, April 6
Hitchcock Nature Center, Honey Creek
Join us at Hitchcock Nature Center to be a part of a new volunteer project aimed at understanding a widespread disease threatening Iowa's state trees.  Read More ...

A Pottawattamie County Almanac: The Mighty Bur Oak
8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Saturday, April 13
Hitchcock Nature Center, Honey Creek
Examine not only the biology of the Iowa state tree, the bur oak, but also its beauty and artistry as well as its importance in literature. Read More ...

OWLS: Symbiosis
12:00 p.m.
Tuesday, April 16th
Hitchcock Nature Center, Honey Creek
Area seniors are invited to bring their lunch and join us at Hitchcock Nature Center for a special lunchtime presentation on plant & animal  symbiosis.  Read More ...

Guided Birding Hike
7:00 p.m.
Wednesday, April 17
Hitchcock Nature Center, Honey Creek
Hit the trails on this special birding hike & tune in to the twilight activity of area birds at Hitchcock Nature Center. Read More ...

Earth Day Championship
9:00 to 11:00 a.m. 
Saturday, April 20
Hitchcock Nature Center, Honey Creek
Become an Earth MVP as you learn about human impacts on nature.  Then hit the trails for some volunteer work & compete to bring in the biggest bag of litter. Read More ...

Map & Compass
Tuesday, April 23 - 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Saturday, April 27 - 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Hitchcock Nature Center, Honey Creek
Learn basic principles of map & compass navigation then take those skills outdoors for real world practice during this two-part program. Read More...

Iowa Master Conservationist
8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Saturday, April 27
Hitchcock Nature Center, Honey Creek
Learn about Iowa's dominant ecosystems & the diversity of conservation challenges & opportunities that exist in the region during this program series presented by  Iowa State University Extension & Outreach. Read More...

Native Earth Skills: Spring Herb & Tree Walk
10:00 a.m.
Saturday, April 27
Hitchcock Nature Center, Honey Creek
Learn more about native medicinal plants and the mythology of trees as Native Earth Skills Practitioner Dustin Clayton leads participants through the park on a guided hike. Read More...

Iowa Butterfly Survey Network Training
1:00 p.m.
Saturday, April 27
Hitchcock Nature Center, Honey Creek
Take an active role in conservation as a citizen scientist through the IBSN with this training session from Reiman Gardens' entomology staff & learn how you can help monitor butterfly populations in your own neighborhood. Read More... 

Mystery Cache
9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Saturday, May 4
Hitchcock Nature Center, Honey Creek
Learn how to use a GPS unit and then hit the trails on to seek out caches and solve puzzles during this fun, all-ages event. Read More...

Harvest Spoon Tour
10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Saturday, May 4
Hitchcock Nature Center, Honey Creek
And Partner Businesses
Celebrate the food and culture of western Iowa as you visit 5 partner businesses along the Harvest Spoon route for a variety of experiences. Read More...



Kate Simmons, Community Relations Coordinator
Pottawattamie County Conservation
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